Washington Squares

Each week until July 14, MoJo Wire lets you test your prowess with political trivia and gives you a chance to win a FREE subscription to Mother Jones magazine. Every Tuesday we’ll have a new set of questions about a different politician, plus the answers and winners from the week before. Just make sure you play before 5 p.m. Pacific Time each Monday.

This Week: Ross Perot

Ross PerotTexas businessman H. Ross Perot assembled one of the most surprising presidential campaigns of the 1990s. Perot’s unorthodox approach mixed grass-roots networking with expensive media exposure and earned him an auspicious 20 million votes in 1992. By 1996, however, his support in the polls had dropped by more than half.

The man who’s been called a “hand grenade with a bad haircut” has been uncharacteristically quiet amid the recent federal budget debates, offering nary a sound bite, much less one of his infamous infomercials. Is Perot’s recent silent treatment a strategic wait-in-the-wings, or are his political days finally over?

  1. Perot once described Washington, D.C., as a town…

    with “a broken arm.”
    full of people who “shoot off Roman candles.”
    “just like my Texarkana backyard.”
    just “like a crazy aunt we keep down in the basement.”
    whose “alabaster city gleams, undimmed by human tears.”

  2. What reason did Perot give for leaving the U.S. Navy?

    He was sick of “godless…drunken tales of moral emptiness.”
    Too much of a job and not enough of an adventure.
    Chronic seasickness.
    Tired of hanging around with a “bunch of plain people.”
    It was a “brutal, dirty, thankless job.”

  3. What did Perot predict would happen with the passage of NAFTA?

    It would “increase the chances that the Japanese would try to export sushi and data chips.”
    It would “turn Washington into a town where they tell fairy tales, have little Chinese fire drills, and play Lawrence Welk music.”
    It would “not affect me at all.”
    It would “worsen the water quality in Little Rock. That place is full of $40-a-month flophouses with spiders runnin’ up the ceiling and brown water comin’ outa the kitchen sink.”
    It would “create a giant sucking sound as American jobs went to Mexico.”

  4. What is a favorite Perot-ian phrase?

    “These people work for us.”
    “The deficit is a wave we can’t ride.”
    “PACs are politically asinine crooks.”
    “Playing defense, not offense.”
    “It’s just that simple.”

  5. Journalist Robert Fitch once called Perot “America’s first _______.”

    nouveau riche billboard
    welfare billionaire
    pint-sized robber baron
    zealot tycoon

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Ted Rueter is the author of several books on politics, including The Newt Gingrich Quiz Book and The Rush Limbaugh Quiz Book.


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